Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes victory over Manchester City on Sunday would do wonders for the Gunners’ confidence in the second half of the season.
Since the 2012/13 season, Arsenal have managed only one victory in 12 league matches against teams that went on to finish in the top four and last year they were thrashed 6-3 at Manchester City, 6-0 at Chelsea and 5-1 at Liverpool.
Arsenal still have to host Manchester United and Chelsea before the end of the campaign and Wenger believes Sunday’s result could start a turnaround in how the Gunners approach the top sides.
“We go into a period now where the confidence is important,” Wenger said.
“We have big games until the end of the season and this can be a decisive game on that front.
“We believe we can win these games because we have done so in the Champions League many times. We just have to play with a bit more freedom.”
Wenger continued: “Is it a self belief? Maybe. We did not perform last year in the top games away from home.
“I believe now we are much more stable and we can do it.
“For many years it was our strength but in the last two years, it is true that it has been a weakness. I think we can rectify it.”
Arsenal have not won at Manchester City since October 2010 and they go into Sunday’s game 11 points behind their opponents.
Wenger refused to rule his side out of the title race but admits the Gunners must improve their record against the league’s best teams.
“We want to win to be as close as possible to City to give ourselves a chance because mathematically we are not in the best position,” Wenger said.
“It (Arsenal’s poor record) is down to quality of performance and the fact we were depleted in some games.
“We missed many chances over there last season, we played with 10 men at the end and had to go forward.
“History is history and we are going there on Sunday to change history.
“This is a team that can create chances and our defensive performance will be vital.”